Synthetic ATF-4 Transmission Fluid - Jeep Commander Forums: Jeep Commander Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-13-2016, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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Synthetic ATF-4 Transmission Fluid

Anyone using Synthetic ATF-4 Transmission Fluid?

08, Commander, Overland, 5.7L HEMI, QD-II, Stock.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-13-2016, 09:00 AM
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All bottles "labeled" ATF+4 have to be Synthetic, and they also need an advanced additive package, so its isn't just the Synthetic base oil that makes ATF+4 the severe duty ATF recommended for Chrysler Transmissions.


There is a debate about Synthetic Oil, because of a court case over marketing terms, that Group III oil can be called Synthetic, while in the past only Group IV oils were called synthetic, so now everyone markets Group III base stock products as "Synthetic".


I don't know, but I believe ATF+4 is Group III base stock Synthetic Oil. So some companies may be marketing a Group IV base stock version of ATF+4.


Group III Oils start as crude oil, but they go through much more refinement, to the point of actually changing the molecues so they do go through a synthesizing process and thus arguably a Synthetic Oil. And yes, they are superior to Group II oil which is just refined crude oil, i.e. conventional oil.


Group IV Oils start as pure chemical (usually gases) that are chemically combined to produce the purest and most homogenized possible oil of the same molecular structure. The entire process is Synthesized. They are better than Group III, but don't get the impression that Grp III oil is any slouch, it is still superior oil.


Today, because of the marketing law system, most places are selling Grp III as Synthetic, and only the Exotics like AMSOIL and Royal Purple are Grp IV.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-13-2016, 09:13 AM
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Any ATF labeled "ATF+4" on the bottle, would have to had meet Chrysler's licensing process to ensure it meets the minimal standards of Chrysler's ATF+4.


ATF+4 is a severe duty ATF that exceeds the durability and performance of most ATF's on the market today.


For simplicity, Chrysler has recommended it for all its transmissions, part of Chryslers plummet from producing the best Automatic Transmissions in the world down to producing the most troublesome transmissions, was their dealerships being to inept to use the correct fluid in their newer transmissions. So, cost savings in stocking a single ATF in bulk, and eliminating inept dealership problems from using the wrong fluid, since there is only one fluid they can choose from.


So, in many Chrysler Transmissions ATF+4 might be overkill. The FWD 4spd Electronic trans in the mini-vans and smaller cars was burning itself up, and a superior fluid helped it live longer.
If you tow a lot, or put your trans through severe duty, perhaps an even better fluid might be worth it.


But I'd think in most cases, the regular old ATF+4 from a reputable brand, changed regularly would be more than enough to keep the trans running well as far as fluid goes. ATF+4 has to be Synthetic to have the ATF+4 label on the bottle.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-13-2016, 10:56 AM
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Now after saying all that, which I basically said regular ATF+4 is more than enough for your Commander's trans in most cases....


I use ASMOIL Signature Series Multi-Vehicle Synthetic ATF in my Commanders NAG1/W5A580 transmission and NV140 XFR Case. I have used it for more than 100k miles, the trans and XFR case run fine and I have not encountered any transmission or XFR case problems.


I have a V6, the V8's use the RFE545 transmission and NV245 XFR Case. The NV245 XFR Case specifies a different fluid than the NV140 that is NOT ATF. Both transmissions specify ATF+4.


Sure, severe duty like lots of heavy towing and rough off-roading, maybe you want an even better ATF. Thing is, and someone correct me if I'm wrong, there is NO exotic or Group IV oil base version of ATF+4, just exotics fluids that in their description claim they meet or exceed ATF+4's specifications. Of course if they met or exceeded Chrysler's specifications, then why didn't they just get the license and put the ATF+4 label on the bottle?


If you're under warranty and you use a fluid other than ATF+4 licensed fluid, you can expect any warranty claim related to the transmission to be denied. The fine print claiming it meets or exceeds ATF+4, doesn't count, that is just their claim, if they got it licensed through Chrysler, they would have the bottle labeled as ATF+4, that is what counts.


So you're sorta stuck, do you trust the brand's claims that the fluid meets or exceeds the specs, when Chrysler itself won't trust their claim?


I did some reading at Allpar.com, Bobtheoilguy.com and AMSOIL website. Seems the ATF+ versions, that they finally got right with ATF+4 was all about making the fluid more durable to withstand the stress of the A604/41TE trans that were burning themselves up. So all this speculation that ATF+4 is some magical elixir that has precisely balanced and exacting properties to work perfectly in exacting and demanding electronic transmissions, turns out to be bogus. Some of the new electronic trans were very demanding on their fluid, and it seems Chrysler stopped ***** footing around and finally sprung for the expenses of true high quality ingredients to make a truly durable enough fluid to stand up to the demand. True, one of the oil companies developed a new high tech additive package that is big factor in that, but also finally going with synthetic base stock oil (although Grp III) was finally the solution.


AMSOIL makes the dubious claim that their multi-vehicle synthetic ATF meets or exceeds the specs for dozens of fluids. Which some people balk, that can't be true. Sure, as far as the durability of the fluid, we'd believe your Group IV fluids you use, you could make a fluid that exceeds the durability of dozens of fluids, but there are far more specs than just the durability on these fluids and some specs are different enough you can't resolve how one fluid meets those difference in several fluids. Deep in their FAQ they answer this. They say yes it true, there are a few specs among all these fluids that are different and one fluid can NOT meet the differences in all the specs. They argue, for the fluids it replaces, it is in the center of the differences, that the actual numbers for these specs degrade with use and are different over time and use in the trans. That their fluid will degrade less and be closer to the actual spec numbers, and the fact that fluid is still considered good in the trans despite degraded numbers prove that particular number is NOT that critical to proper trans operation.


e.g. fluid viscosity, your trans can handle a range of fluid viscosity and still work correctly, if NOT, you'd be changing trans fluid every 10k miles, cause the viscosity has sheered downed and changed by that point. So, Dexon VI might specify a viscosity of 8 and Mercon III might specify a viscosity of 5, AMSOIL MV synthetic has a viscosity of 7, and those trans will work just fine. Dexron VI will sheer down to well below a viscosity of 7 while the AMSOIL is still at 7, the better cold flow properties of the synthetic won't be a problem even though the AMSOIL is 2 points higher than the Mercon III. The AMSOIL ATF is more durable and heat resistant than the specified fluid and thus will protect your trans better than the recommended fluid.


After reading those things, I decided to risk it and try AMSOIL multi-vehicle synthetic ATF. It has worked fine for the last 100k miles. I have changed it twice, just as regular maintenance, just a drop the pan and change the filter, so it is mixed with less and less ATF+4 each change. I have had no problems what so ever in the trans or xfr case, still operate like new.


The safest thing to do, is to use the exact recommended fluid, especially if you're still in warranty. It's NOT wise to use an other than recommended fluid, unless you have evidence (and confidence in that evidence) that the other than recommended fluid will work properly and do a better job. And NO do NOT trust the manufacturer claims, you need independent evidence.


I have seen enough anectodotal claims of people using AMSOILS MV Synthetic ATF in replace of ATF+4, the research I did, I figured it was worth the risk. And it has lived up to the claims.


I can NOT attest to other brands of Synthetic ATF, like Redline, Royal Purple, Mobil1, etc do NOT assume that because AMSOIL's synthetic works that these other brands will. As well, do NOT assume you will get the same result as I did from the ASMOIL MV Synthetic ATF.
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Last edited by Mongo; 04-13-2016 at 11:13 AM.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-13-2016, 08:46 PM
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Probably the best transmission fluid on the market is made by Red Line Synthetics. Their C+ fluid meets the ATF+4 specification. I have been using this fluid for years in Chrysler transmissions. It is a Polyol Ester based group V synthetic. I have never lost a transmission while running this fluid. It is expensive but worth every penny IMHO. Red Line does little or no advertising and is well known in the racing world having supplied lubricants to racers for many years. Many race teams who advertise other oil brands actually run Red Line lubricants in their vehicles.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-14-2016, 09:33 AM
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I think all the exotic synthetics, i.e. Group IV is a mix of Ester and Polyalphaolefins (PAO), some have more than one of the other and thus just get called what the largest volume active ingredient. i.e. Red Line is Poly Ester (PEO) and AMSOIL is PAO, but I think both have a mix of the different kinds of Grp IV oils.


BTW, its the same with brake pads, they all have a mix of the same ingredients for the most part, its just Metallic Pads have more iron and copper ingredients than the others, Ceramic pads have more ceramic ingredients than the other, etc. there is still a lot of things in the mixture other than what its named.


I have seen more than a few forum posts on more than a few different forums about folks using Red Line C+ and AMSOIL MV ATF in Chrysler Mini-Van 4spd electronic transaxle, stating it worked great they had no problems and the trans was still working good at twice the miles that they usually fail on these vehicles.


I haven't used Redline C+ for transmissions, I have used Redline Power Steering fluid and it was great (and specifically meets or exceeds the PS spec for those vehicles). (in other cars, NOT my Commander that requires a Hybrid PS/Hydraulic Fluid MS-10838 only available from the Dealer).


Royal Purple and Mobil1 also have a great rep, but I just don't know if their products do well in replace of ATF+4, I personally would NOT risk it.

Again, be careful of Manufacturer Claims, they are often bogus, even deceptive.
Redline C+ and AMSOIL MV ATF claim to meet and exceed the specs for ATF+4, if that is true, then it would be a snap to have it licensed by Chrysler and they could sell bottle labeled ATF+4 instead of putting on the fine print in the back "it meets ATF+4 specs".

What Redline and AMSOIL MV ATF is really saying, this is a superior fluid, using superior ingredients it exceeds all the specs that really count for ATF+4. Its BS that we can't call it ATF+4 because one or two numbers that don't make any difference or just a little off the spec.

I have yet to see a post or account that would counter that claim from Redline or AMSOIL, but I have seen plenty supporting their claims.


Now the rest of the fluids and brands out there, be very, very careful.

PS fluid, I have seen bottles of generic PS fluid being sold, stating on the back of the bottle, it meets Chrysler's Spec for PS fluid. I think to myself, umm, yea, but which one. Sure enough, after a little research this PS fluid only meets a Chrysler spec from the 70's, it is the wrong fluid for most of the Chrysler vehicles on the road. Read it carefully, your owners manual will list the fluids you need and will say the spec you need for the fluid. If the fluid does NOT state it meets spec MS-XXXX, then assume it does NOT.

Chrysler Engine Oil Spec MS-3593 (might have the number wrong) is no different than their previous or other engine oil specs, except they added a 2 year, multi-season trial to the spec. So the oil brands have to jump through these hoops, that costs them money and time, in hopes of putting the spec on the bottle labeling a couple years down the road. That is why you see some of the best oil out their for your vehicle, won't technically meet Chrysler's specs.

Again, if you're in warranty, don't use fluids that don't specifically state it meets the specific Chrysler spec for the fluid that is in your owners manual, and keep receipts and records. You will have your warranty denied for related issues if you used the wrong fluid according to your Owners Manual (doesn't matter if it bogus or NOT, that's the rules, you have to follow them if don't want your warranty denied).

I have used Mobil1 5W-20 Synthetic in my Commander since I first got it, I installed an oil pressure gauge, at 141k miles, my engine is making the same oil pressure it did when I bought the vehicle at 17k miles and 6 years ago, the inside of the engine is clean as an engine with 25k miles. But, Mobil1 advanced synthetic still doesn't meet Chryslers latest engine oil spec because of a bogus thing they added to the spec.

Anti-Freeze, Prestone and Others have been sued and lost in court about the claims on their bottles of anti-freeze, the courts have found they can NOT claim their anti-freeze meets Manufacturers specs. Yet Prestone and the others continue to put the deceptive labeling on their jugs of anti-freeze. Prestone is selling DexCool dyed yellow, deceptively implying it is a universal anti-freeze. Company's are selling OAT, even the DexCool OAT version, Polypropylene and even HOAT anti-freezes and never identifying what exactly they are on the jugs, they claim they are for you vehicle, meets the manufacturer specs, but the manufacturer specifically says it does NOT. You're NOT suppose to mix these anit-freezes, but they claim you can, but the car makers claim you can't, so its a real mess.


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Last edited by Mongo; 04-14-2016 at 09:39 AM.
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